Operation Christmas Child collects toys for those in need


Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

by Patricia Whyte, Staff Writer

Thanks to drives held at Glen Rock High School and thousands of locations across the globe, 12 million children in need will wake up on Christmas morning to a shoebox filled with toys. For many, this will be the only gift they receive.

For the past two years, Operation Christmas Child has held a collection drive at the school with the help of Samaritan Purse volunteer Denise Blind and her daughter, a recent Glen Rock graduate, Chelsea Blind.

“My role in this drive is to encourage anyone possible to either donate items that can be used to fill a shoebox, or provide a shoebox for people to fill on their own and then return to me. The more boxes we fill, the more children we can serve,” Denise Blind said.

Operation Christmas child is a part of the Samaritans Purse International Relief Organization, which is an organization that aims to provide aid to those in need. Operation Christmas Child collects shoeboxes for the needy and distributes them to children in countries such as Paraguay, Namibia, Peru, and Cambodia. These boxes are collected from all over the world and can contain stuffed toys, school supplies, or essential items.

“Anyone who wants to get involved can contact me. There will be lots of boxes to fill at the end.  My daughter, Chelsea, used to fill all the boxes, and I would help organize them and drive us to the Church, but now that she’s off to College, I can use the help,” Denise Blind said.

National collection week for shoeboxes lasts from Nov. 14 until Nov. 21. Shoeboxes are made available in the beginning of October. Last year, 136 boxes were collected at GRHS.

“The drive has been very successful at GRHS for the past 2 years,” Denise Blind said. “Each year has been more successful than the last, and this year has been exceptional so far. The support from the Glen Rock community has been wonderful.”

Blind and her daughter became involved with the project two years ago after visiting a friend in Virginia and her daughters. Two of the daughters were adopted from orphanages in the Ukraine. After hearing stories of what they had been through and how excited they were to receive their shoeboxes, the Blinds were inspired to volunteer for the cause.

“My family and friends and their families mean the world to me, which is why I continue to support this, and why I am so passionate about it,” Denise Blind said.

Sydney Carr (‘18) was inspired to help out and get involved. “After helping Chelsea last year, it really motivated and touched me to help others,” Carr said.

As well as members of the Glen Rock community, students at the high school have been moved by the project.

“It’s a great organization that benefits kids who are less fortunate, because we’re really fortunate in Glen Rock, so it’s a good cause” Katie Kelly (‘18).

Operation Christmas Child has successfully sent 124 million shoe box gifts to over 130 countries since 1993.

“It’s really just giving back to children, mostly in third world countries, that have very little. It lets them know that someone loves them,” Denise Blind said.